1973, early April?: Letter from Marcy to G&H

This is undated, but it appears to be a followup to the previous letter, so I’m guessing it was written a few days after that one.

It consists of two typewritten pages from Marcy (with a handwritten bit at the end), plus a drawing and brief note by me. Both are on big sheets of brown paper, roughly 18"x12"; the sheet for Marcy’s letter was folded in half before she typed on it, so she was typing on roughly 9"x12" paper.

Dear Grandparents

Jed drawing of spaceship etc.
Jed drawing of spaceship etc.

Handwritten in margin: (parentheses are my explanations) the rest are Jed’s words.

Here is installment two of my letter, beginning with the story of the picture in Jed's letter.:: (start at upper left corner, at rocketship) This astronaut goes down under the sea. He's going down the ladder (that's him on each rung) and then he finds himself under the water. Then he goes a little way and then he climbs up xxx another ladder. Then he goes up through a door and he's inside a boat and he's warming up it with a fire (this is xxx at the right of the circle which is near the rocket). While the man is rowing the boat over to here, over to the rock (obelisk at far right) and he's go8ng up the road and he went into the rock. These (small circles at bottom of obelisk) are rabbits, and this is him (circle at end of bottom path on obelisk) (this looks like a xxx dinosaur) but he's too tinyx to show his face. First I made some different things. The faces are the the same ones as this one (xxx the man in the circle) and this is the same one, but too tiny to show his face. And there's a fire coming from down under the sea and it touches the water and it's gone. xThat's the straight thing, not the wrinkly thing. (Lines at right, over and around obelisk.) I don't think there's anything else. (all the bottom area is ocean.)

Handwritten in margin: This is archetypal children’s art—with a few variations, themes & techniques are the same the world over!!!

Sorry the letter was so long in coming. He wrote one and it got left underfoot for too long to salvage, but he wanted to finish it....so we had a two-day discussion till I convinced him to start over. The toys really were a xxx big hit, but he was kind of bored doing the letter over and didn't want to write any more. The slide r rule is lovely; he likes to keep it set on 9. I believe he's teaching the numbers to Joaquin, as he's already pretty well mastered them. Wait till you hear him read. We're planning another tape, but right now we don't have any, nor any book he wants to read. Latest fave rave is a wonderful book of Winnie the Pooh stories that I loved as a child, and learned to read on, along with Mary Poppins, Space Cat visits Mars, Indian Two Feet and the Wolf Cubs, and on and on. His own reading is more on the level of Cat in the Hat, and Marvin K. Mooney will you please go now (the newest by Dr. Seuss) which he read immediately on sight, never heard it before, and I only helped with the hardest words. (ah, the folly of a mother's pride. oh, well.....) The camera-thingie wa s also very successful; would have been more so but for Quin's latest fixation: fire engines. So he leaves it set on the fire engine and fusses when anyone switches it. He doesn't associate it with the xxx viewmaster, for some reason, tho he xis well able to operate it, too. We've been lucky enough to get quite a number of travelogue and kiddie cartoon and instructional reels, discontinued or extra or broken packages, for 10¢ a reel....sure beats $1.50 for three. So that was truly a good choice of present too. ( Christmas last.). The Snoopy towel for some reason did not go over so spectacularly; probably cos it was overshadowed byt the other presents. I expect that in a month or two they'll notice it, demand to know where we got it, and insist on hanging it on the towel rack or some such place every day, clean or not.,......ah yes, this would not be complete without some notice of Joaquin's great verbal accomplishments: latest thing, being an astronaut, is "10-9-8-7-6-3-2-1-glast off!!!!!"

We dug up the side lawxn to make a carrot patch; the neighbors are all upset with us---but just wait a few months. Their mouths will bewatering then! The landlady thinks it's grand.

So that's what I have to get back to. Set myself a goal of turning over three rows (about 8' long each) a day; it's already rototilled so not too hard, for someone with a reasonable amount of strength in arm muscles. But I put off doing it early this morning when I should have, to avoid ol' hatchet-face next door (our landpeople moved out of this house mainly to get away from her) who was out there mowing her inch-high grass, and now I have another row to do, and it's hot.

The story on Peter's job is veryx inconclusive at this point....here's how it happened: When he first came, he was xxx promised a $50 raise in six months, and another in another 6 months--but then Niel, the director, told him because of his Excellence and Goodness and all that (really, he's worth as much as two other counselors combined, and proved it very clearly in ht first 6 months there) he'd be raised the full $100 at the end of the first six months, thenceforward go up $50 every six months with the xxx other counselors (the other two had been making $100 more than Peter when xxx he got there, on account of their having been there so long.) So came the end of six (actually, five) months, and Niel asked the xxx Board of Directors for the extra raise, and they refused...onaccount of the Cahirman of the Board was in a personal conflict with Niel and was refusing all his requests across the board that evening. So Niel raged and ranted, and next day both of them (Niel and Peter) turned in their resignations. Niel accepted a job in Wisconsin as director of the state's drug program, at almost twice his present salary of $1200, then decided to stay in the area....right now he's working on setting up a sort of halfway house--therapeutic community here in stockton, for kids sent there by the California Youth Authority; he'll be leaving the Sun in another two weeks to work on that full time,.....Subsequently to that stormy meeting, relationships were patched up somewhat, so he didn't actually quit in a huff, and he leaves thex program fully and irrevocably funded for a year, but the woman who's taking over the directorship is not the right kind of person to be a director, and who knows what willl happen to the program in another couple of months. Meanwhile, when Peter wrote his resignation (it was a real masterpiece, I have to say) it was read immediately by the aforementioned chairman of the board...though unofficially--i.e., it hadn't been presented by Niel at a board meeting. x One of the Crisis Crew was there when he read it, and said he was somewhat angry, but not clear as to why.....Then later in the week (letterx was to be presented on the x next Monday) we heard from Mary, Niel's wife, that the Chmn had been extremely impressed with Peter's qualifications, especially the B.A. (said chairman is the publisher of the Tracy Press) and now certainly thought he'd deserved the raise from the beginning of his working there & had xxx been angry at not knowing about this before.....So on Monday, Peter presented a slightly revised version, which did not demand the xxx raise retroactive to January 1, but just requested xxx same, and was very well recieved. The board members suggested that he withdraw the resignation and instead request a raise, which he did, and was granted....no mention of retroactive anything. The Chairman said he'd never heard Peter's qualifications for the job before, only that he'd been rated #1 trainee by the staff at the training program (which we hadn't known before) so Peter was very upset at Niel for not telling his qualifications to the board when he was first hired....which upsetness lasted till Peter talked to another board member, who had been asked to --and of course did-- read his qualifications out loud at the board meeting when he'd been hired. So now you know something about the chairman of the Rising Sun board of directores............What's happening now is that things are really nowhere; the new directress is very wishy washy and mealy mouthed, and has lots of personal hangups that are preventing her from being an effective member of a counseling team (for instance, she's about three weeks away from marrying an ex-Catholic priest, her fromer husband is giving her custody problems, she can't possibly get away from things here to take the xxx 6-week training course in Berkeley, and yet she really needs it, as xxx she's completely blind to her own difficulties in working with people (which are of course no worse than anyone's, only she wont hear any criticism)(which is of course the place where most prople are; but more and better is expected of anyone in a counseling position)and xxx she's not much of a forceful administrator.....so things are in kind of a blue funk, and we are beginning to cast around very seriously for a better job....with more counseling (being the counselor referred to instead of the one that does the referring) and some teaching, if possible. And a decent salary, of course.....As of this week, he's doing three hours four days a week tutor ing math at the high school, which is xxx great....

Switching to handwriting for the final paragraph:

And I guess that’s all I have to say for now. Hope you will send us some of your organ music Soon Grandpa.... Oh yes, we don’t have an 8-track deck, so we generally don’t record records. The equipment isn’t xxx low-range enough to capture the deep-drums of my favorite music anyway (from Bali)

nuff of this

Good night



The text of my “letter” says, in wobbly all-caps:





…Perhaps I should forbear to say what adult me thought the astronaut looked like at first glans. Oops, I mean glance.
book of Winnie the Pooh stories
I have a 1944 edition of When We Were Very Young, inscribed with Marcy’s name and the year 1945, and then with my name and the year 1971. But those are non-Winnie-the-Pooh Milne poems. If there was also a Pooh-stories book as such, I no longer have it.
Space Cat
I apparently loved Space Cat as a kid. Or at least I loved the phrase—I have a journal book in which I wrote various versions of the phrase many times. Space Cat Meets Mars was the third of the four Space Cat books (link is to James Nicoll’s entertaining 2020 review of all four books); I don’t know whether we had the others, though the cover of the first one looks vaguely familiar.
I remember liking View-Master reels for years, but I’m not sure that I ever understood that they were supposed to look 3D. I vaguely remember that we had a Star Trek reel, but I don’t remember whether it was for a particular episode.
Peter’s job stuff
I’m a little surprised to hear that Peter’s brand-new BA degree was considered an impressive credential, especially given that I think his major was something like math-for-teachers (rather than, say, anything related to counseling or drug abuse).
“the new directress”
In both this letter and the next one from Peter (which I’ll post next week), Peter and Marcy portray this woman as being pretty awful, but I’m not entirely convinced. For example, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that someone whose wedding is in three weeks and who has just suddenly and unexpectedly been promoted to director might not have time right now to attend a six-week training course in another city.
organ music
George played the organ, and at some point G&H acquired a pretty nice home organ. That may have been after this, though. …Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever heard him play.
favorite music
I’ve never been clear on what kinds of music Marcy liked; this letter is the first I’ve heard of her interest in drum music from Bali. I wish she had given a few more details.

One Response to “1973, early April?: Letter from Marcy to G&H”

  1. 1974, Spring: Letters from Jed to G&H – Peter, Marcy, Jed, and Jay

    […] the first indication of my being a media fan as such. (Marcy had previously indicated that I liked the Space Cat books, so this was not the first indication of my being a science fiction fan.) …Huh—this means that […]


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